The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Circular Fashion Expo sets to stun with fourth exposition

One of the University’s largest fashion events will bring hundreds together over a shared love of fashion, art and sustainability on Saturday. The fourth Circular Fashion Expo, also referred to as CFE.4, will take place at the Siebel Center for Design from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

This year’s theme is “A Camp Sensibility.” Organizers said it is inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp,” which described “camp” as a sensibility that revels in exaggeration, irony and theatricalization.  

William Hohe, junior in FAA and Media, has been involved with CFE since its inception. Hohe is currently the lead organizer of CFE and president of The Fashion Network, a registered student organization dedicated to fashion at the University. 

“The theme for the event is inspired by camp as a fashion performance term,” Hohe said. “I like to think of camp as turning fashion into performance. So taking a reference, running with it, stretching it to its maximum and then making it into a full cohesive look. We chose that term just because it’s so fun and it’s so interpretive.”

The event will feature a runway by The Fashion Network as well as other RSOs, including The Kat Walk Modeling Agency and BLNKD, a portrait photography club. Additionally, there will be a runway set to feature designers from around campus and Champaign-Urbana. 

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    The event will also include upcycling services and workshops, an interactive art exhibition, live music, vendors and opportunities to network with local artists and small-business owners. 

    “It’s a four-pronged runway, but that is also mixed into a whole day of sustainability and circularity within fashion,” Hohe said. “There’s a full vending fair, so around 70 to 90 vendors show up every year and they are students, faculty, staff and community members who all checked for sustainability and all have a role to play within the circular economy and driving fashion to a more green future.”

    Hohe said the first CFE was in the spring of 2022 and was created as a way to demonstrate students’ creativity and artistic talents and advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry — the second biggest polluter behind oil. The designs use thrifted and vintage garments with nothing purchased directly from fast-fashion companies. 

    “You’re looking for specific garments so you have to ask friends, you have to go to thrift stores and that really goes in line with what CFE is all about,” Hohe said. “What you see on the runway is not couture, it’s not made and crafted specifically for the models, but it is an example of being able to sell specifically from sustainable means.”

    Hohe said another reason for the inception of CFE was to foster a connection between Illinois artists, especially given many feelings of isolation created by COVID-19. 

    “One of our goals was creating a sense of community and connection,” Hohe said. “I think that was my biggest pull to be part of this event, because coming to U of I as an art student, you might not think an artistic community is out there, but CFE is a one-day representation of just how strong that can be.”

    Olivia Sims, senior in Media, is the director of art & design for CFE and creative director of design for TFN. Prior to her executive positions, she modeled in the second CFE in Fall 2022.

    “Each model involved, including myself, brought the vision to life and I think that’s a beautiful thing to be a part of, to say you were one with the execution of a vision, to then be presented to the public,” Sims said. “I wanted to work with creatives who shared an interest, passion and desire to create within this area of interest, which is the highly imaginative area of fashion.”

    Organizers said CFE.4 is expected to be larger than the first three, as it is set to include more vendors, the introduction of new designers and its first collaboration with BLNKD.

    “When I modeled for CFE.2, the event was much smaller than it is now and did not have many of the components we see now, such as thoughtful decor, more performances, vendors and participants in general,” Sims said. “The event as a whole expresses the beauty in imagining a vision and bringing it to life as a collective, and the fact that this event has expanded only means there are more creatives contributing their own unique minds to the experience.”

    Sims said she hoped CFE.4 would be a memorable experience for those who attend and participate in the event. It is an opportunity to engage in new experiences, learn new things and potentially observe an aspect of the event that sparks interest in something they’ve never done before. 

    “I’d hope for CFE.4 to be a beneficial experience for those who consider themselves to be creatives and even those who wouldn’t consider themselves creative in an artistic sense, as we are all creative in our own way,” Sims said. “The theme of the fourth Circular Fashion Expo is ‘A Camp Sensibility’; embracing the exaggerated version of who you are, and so I hope for those who join us on Dec. 2 at SCD to come with an open mind to all that they experience.”

     

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